Statement in response to Zakir Naik’s police report

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On August 16th, Zakir Naik filed a police report against me alleging that my articles have defamed him. He also accused me [together with Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy, Klang MP Charles Santiago and Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy] of “instigating racial disharmony and hatred among the citizens of Malaysia.” Zakir Naik, an Indian national with permanent resident status in Malaysia, is a fugitive from Indian justice.

In response, I have issued the following statement:

As a citizen and columnist, I have every right to express my opinion on issues of national interests. Having served my country as a diplomat and ambassador for over 36 years, I also feel compelled to continue to defend our great nation and speak out on issues that affect the unity, peace and harmony of our nation. I consider Zakir Naik’s speeches and statements going back a few years now to be disruptive and divisive and have said so. And on that basis, I have also joined with others in urging the government of Malaysia to deport him. I cannot apologise for that.

I might add that I am not alone in my views – several ministers, former ministers, politicians and thousands of ordinary citizens from across all Malaysia’s ethnic and religious groups have also spoken out against him. Indeed, there are currently more than 100 police reports against him. Even the prime minister was recently quoted as saying, “We will need to take action to prevent him from making such speeches, which… pit the races against each other.” Sarawak has also reiterated its entry ban on him for the same reasons.  I am not sure if he plans to file police reports against them all as well.

Of course, as a citizen, I will fully cooperate with any police investigation should there be one.

Ambassador Dato Dennis Ignatius | Friday, August 16th 2019